New Zealand’s famous lamb and seafood were showcased generously in India in a first-ever virtual culinary competition Quality NZ Culinary Cup 2020. 

The Cup, which could easily be another example of much famed Kiwi-ingenuity, was launched recently in India by Quality NZ as a response to the Covid19 outbreak to help keep chefs motivated and connected during a challenging time. 

Former Blackcaps captain and Chennai Super Kings Coach Stephen Fleming announced executive chef Angad Singh as the winner of the innovative competition that saw almost 140 applications from executive chefs and a week-long of cooking and virtual presentation of food prepared from NZ lambs and seafood. 

Chef Angad Singh was declared the winner by former Blackcaps Stephen Flemming

Quality NZ - a niche supplier of NZ’s finest quality products and services to the rapidly growing Indian market with a special focus on food, beverages and tourism - had organised the competition with the utmost goal of promoting mental wellbeing and reflecting a sense of mutual-care during the unprecedented times of lockdown due to Covid-19. 

For the uninitiated, Quality NZ, demonstrating another example of Kiwi-ingenuity, harnesses the immense goodwill of the mutually shared love for the game of cricket between the two countries to enhance trade and bilateral relations. 

Several prominent cricketers such as Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum, acts as the firm’s ambassadors in India and contributes to bridging the relationship between the two countries. 

Speaking to the Indian Weekender exclusively, Geoff Allott - another former blackcap - and the Director/CEO of Quality NZ said, “This virtual competition was designed purely to bring some smiles on the faces of executive chefs in India who were forced to sit at home like everyone else and give them an opportunity to engage in their passion.”

“As you would note in one of the videos by Stephen Flemming where he showcases his culinary skills with NZ lamb, the primary goal of this virtual competition was ensuring mental well being and mutual care during these strange times of lockdown,” Mr Allott said. 

“We are extremely delighted with the number of entries received in just one day and then how NZ’s premium products Pure South Lamb and United Fisheries seafood were showcased by the Chefs through their 120 video entries,” Mr Allott said. 

The competition was supported by three culinary associations South India Chef’s Association, the Indian Culinary Forum and the Western India Culinary Association - and their heads Chef Davinder Kumar, Chef Salil Fadnis, Chef Jugesh Arora along with Stephen Flemming were the judges for the competition. 

Mr Allott, on being asked on how judges were able to make a judgement in this virtual competition, given there was no opportunity to contact along with other normal logistical challenges a spiritedly said, “We had ensured delivery of all our lamb and seafood products on the doors of the shortlisted chefs, who were required to prepare a dish in each category and make a presentation about the preparation of the dish and record it simultaneously.”

“Everyone did a great job in preparing and presenting their dishes,” Mr Allott said. 

Mr Allott also lauded Quality NZ's India based team for effectively launching and managing this cherished project on the ground even during the unprecedented lockdown. 

"The QNZ team based in India did an outstanding job in coordinating the competition, lead by QualityNZ India & Emerging markets CEO, Dr Nitin Nagrale. He worked particularly closely with NZTE’s communications team to engage an audience through social media and it resulted in over 60,000 views on the Quality NZ ‘YouTube’ channel," Mr Allott said. 

Meanwhile, Stephen Fleming speaking about the Quality NZ Culinary cup 2020 said, "We have been operating in India now for over 7 years and some of our customers and their own employees have been terribly affected by Covid19. With everyone being in lockdown, we wanted to think of a way to stay connected and give the community something positive to think about and be involved in. Who doesn't enjoy cooking' Being in lockdown has allowed many people to have a go at cooking their own meals. I've been using a few of the Pure South lamb products and our Seafood to cook my own favourite recipes while being in lockdown here in NZ." 

"The aim is to make the videos available through our social media channels to all the 'home' Chefs across India who have an interest in cooking and new recipes and to show them some of the Chef's secrets to producing some extra special meals,” Stephen Flemming further said.